Game Matchups and Preview: Utah at USC

The Utes look to bounce back in LA after a surprising loss to UCLA

Guards
True freshman Jordan McLaughlin played 51 minutes against Colorado the other night, so you have to wonder how he'll bounce back. He's averaging 12 points and 4.9 assists per contest, but is only shooting 35% from the field. Former Utah commit Julian Jacobs is averaging 7.8 points per game, but has scored only 6 points total in his last two contest.

Delon Wright and Brandon Taylor showed up Thursday (Wright crashed the party late) and kept Utah within striking distance. They won't have nearly the same task against USC. Wright should be able to get his and there's no reason to think Taylor won't continue this stretch that has him as the hottest 3 point shooter in the conference.
Advantage: Utah

Forwards
What will Utah get out of Loveridge and Reyes this time? When they're playing well, Utah wins big (see Washington game). When they disappear, Utah gets in trouble (see UCLA game).

Katin Reinhardt has been heating up of late for USC, highlighted by his 35 point performance against Colorado, including 9 3-pointers (on 18 attempts). He's averaging 22.3 points per contest in his last three games. Freshman Malik Marquetti only gets 18 minutes per game with 3 points and 2 rebounds. Both Reinhardt and Marquetti are more of the guard type, but for this exercise, we'll call them forwards.
Advantage: Utah

Center
Jakob Poeltl wasn't bad against UCLA, but his stat line was much more impressive than his impact. He's hobbled again with a tweaked ankle and still isn't looking like his early-season self. Utah isn't the same team when he's not out there at 100%.

Nikola Jovanovic put up 30 points and 9 boards in their last game against Colorado. He's a 6-11 big man that averages 13.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Has an inside-out game that stretches the defense.
Advantage: USC

Bench
Utah's depth improved when Ogbe returned and they're getting heavy contributions from Bachynski, Tucker, and Chapman.

USC goes about 3 deep off the bench. Forward Darion Clark averages 6.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Freshman guard Elijah Stewart chips in 5 points.
Advantage: Utah

The Breakdown
USC is the worst team in the conference and is coming off of a late Thursday night triple overtime loss. Those extra 15 minutes won't help their fatigue level. Utah waxed them last time and this team won't drop back to games against inferior opponents, even if it's on the road. Wright will do his thing and the Utes will pull away midway through the second half for a comfortable victory to salvage an LA split.

The Pick
Utah 73 USC 57

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